I’ve recently decided that I want to try a blogging challenge or one of those write for 30 days things. To clarify, I’m definitely going to do one; I just need to decide which. You see, I really want to do the Writing 101 course that WordPress offers, but it seems that they’re not doing it again in the near future. There’s just Blogging 101 and Blogging 201, and I’m not sure which (if either) is for me. So, I found that WordPress has an eBook of 20 Writing 101 topics, so I decided to start with that. My first assignment was to free write for 20 minutes.
I’ve seen all the Daily Post things about the blogging and writing courses, and while I’ve always been interested in them, I have resisted actually doing one because I’ve honestly never been sure if they’re a good fit for my blog. Unlike many people who write personal blogs where they talk about their lives, feelings, thoughts, and stuff like that, I have always tried to keep my blog pretty tightly focused on topics related to art, history, and scholarship. Put quite simply, that’s what floats my boat, so that’s what I want to write about. Talking about personal stuff just doesn’t interest me. (To clarify, I am happy to talk about my personal thoughts and feelings in general; I just don’t want my blog to be about that.) The blogging courses and challenges always seem to include lots of prompts about a favorite pet, or a childhood memory, or any one of a zillion topics that are interesting but don’t really fit my own interests or, quite frankly, my readership’s. However, I haven’t posted in a long time. Anyone who has been following my blog knows that. It annoys me that I don’t write, and if a blogging challenge is going to fix that (which it very well may), then it’s worth going a little off topic. I just started a 30 day abs challenge, and it’s going pretty well so far, so I think this has a decent chance of working. I’m usually good with a bit of structure. If it gets me to post and write every day or at least more frequently, then that will probably make it easier to write about the kinds of things I want to write about, either in the challenges or in addition/afterward.
Why don’t I write more often? I’m not trying to make excuses here, just identify the problem. First of all, I’m really busy all the time. Like I do two competitive sports and have three jobs level busy. I also read pretty much every day, and sometimes (most of the time) I find that a more satisfying way to unwind than writing. Also, I’m a huge perfectionist and an ambitions writer. I don’t want to write a couple hundred words about something; I want to write an entire freaking dissertation about something if it interests me enough. This is not a good way to run a blog. Yet it makes me unhappy that I’m so full of interests, curiosity, and good ideas, and I don’t do anything with it. I read about tons of fascinating stuff, and I want to do more with that knowledge. I do a lot of research in my jobs (two of the three), and I really enjoy that work, but I feel like I should be pursuing my own projects to really me doing myself and my talents justice. It’s like an artist who works on commercial ad campaigns during the day and then paints for his own career at night, or an actor who does car commercials but really wants to do Shakespeare. I really enjoy finding blogs, websites, newsletters, Facebook pages, etc. about topics that interest me (pretty much everything under the sun) and following them, subscribing to them, liking them, whatever. Sometimes I’ll find a site and think to myself “I would be a really good fit for this website. Oh, look, they take submissions. You know what would be a really good topic for this site? Something that I’m already interesting in writing about. How perfect!” But then I never actually do anything because I’m so backed up on idea, and once you get stuck in a rut, it’s SO HARD to start up again. Being an athlete, I am really, really disciplined, so I know it’s only a matter of figuring out what I need to do to take the first steps, and then I will be submitting to so many sites and writing so much that I won’t have time for other things again. Time management is another problem, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. The point is, I love to write and I can definitely start again if I can get the momentum going. I’m hoping that a blogging challenge will do the trick.
I while ago (probably over a year), I wrote a list of the things that are most important to me to achieve in my life. It’s not a bucket list, per se, because many of the items are not things you just do once and then check them off. Some are, but most of them are things I want to consistently do throughout my life because they’re so important to me. So it’s more of a “here’s what matters to you, here are your hopes and dreams, don’t ever forget them” list. I haven’t ever crossed anything off; even though some of my priorities have shifted a bit since I made the list, I figure that if something was at one time important enough to me to warrant making the list, it’s not something I want to discount or forget about because the whole point was the never let go of the things that matter. I have, however, added to the list as new things become important to me or when I realize that something’s important. As you can probably guess, writing about things that interest me was one of the first things I put on the list, and it’s definitely one of those things you just keep doing. So here goes…